Canyon Creek Meadows

Sunday, July 22, 2012
Leader: Randy Sinnott
Hike: 7.5 miles, 1400 ft (Moderate)

Santiam Pass temperature was forecast for high 50s F and Eugene was overcast and drizzling when ten of us left South Eugene for Canyon Creek Meadows. What a surprise to crest the pass to sunshine and temperatures already in the 60s. The east slope of the Cascade crest was nearly cloud free. The amount of cars at the trailhead attested to the popularity of this hike. The group kept together most of the hike. For the majority, it was the first visit to this uniquely east slope valley. The first mile is through the B and B burn with many small but healthy looking conifers establishing themselves among the silvery poles of fire killed trees. A few small pothole lakes were passed before reaching the meadow. From the leader's reconnoiter the previous week, two major changes were noted; there were more flowers in bloom and less snow. Our timing for the peak floral bloom was premature by a week or two and hindsight suggests perhaps the first week of August would guarantee more flowers. At least this year..plenty of color remained to be enjoyed, however. Canyon Creek itself was running silty, carrying rock flour from Three Fingered Jack's relict glacier. A spur trail from here led up through the meadows to the divide above the moraine lake created by this eastside glacier. We continued up, crossing patches of summer snow until a menacing snow field gave us pause. Seven of us elected to lunch here, while three went fifteen minutes farther along to gain the rim of the moraine lake before turning back. The return hike was down Canyon Creek (which appeared to be carrying more and more snowmelt as the day progressed), through forest with evidence of beaver work on several dead trees (before the burn, certainly), and a long marsh that probably also owes its existence to beavers. The last mile was dusty, with good views of Mt Jefferson and Green Ridge, and arriving back at the trailhead, the proposal to stop at Harbick's for ice cream and rehydration was heartily agreed upon.

Members: Randy Sinnott, Nancy Whitfield, Jorry Rolfe. Nonmembers: Martin Baskett, Howard Loewinger, Jim Woods, Arjun Menon, Tiffany Boehland, Tom Giesen, Katie Geiser.

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